If you were asked to name a major event of 1997, you might recall that Bill Clinton began his 2nd term as president or that the Green Bay Packers won Superbowl XXXII; you might reminisce that Beanie Babies were booming in popularity or NASA’s Pathfinder landed on Mars. If you asked SUPERCOMMUTER Steve Hulme what he remembers about 1997, he’d tell you that it was his start as a full-time bike commuter. Believe it or not, Steve has not driven a car to work(not even once) for 17 years!
Steve has resided in Boise, Idaho for all of his 61 years. For many years, his commute was an easy five minute walk, so he walked. In 1985, a job change significantly extended the distance of his daily commute. At first, Steve used a mix of public transportation and his car to get to work but he grew increasingly annoyed at the time it took him to find a parking space each morning. Steve’s motivation to start pedaling to work came from a coworker named Betty. She lived twice as far from work as did Steve and she rode nearly every day. As an enthusiastic practitioner of transportation cycling, she casted some encouragement in Steve’s direction and he bit.
That weekend Steve visited his local bike shop. The salesman showed him a new kind of bike hitting the market: the mountain bike! Steve was attracted to the fat tires and prospect of bumming around the trails surrounding Boise. He left that afternoon with a vibrant blue Peugeot Canyon Express.
The Peugeot didn’t magically turn Steve into an instant supercommuter. In fact, when he first started riding, he wasn’t very fit and didn’t even know how or where we was going to clean himself up once he made it into work.
Nevertheless, he stuck with it and found that the more he rode, the easier it became. With each passing year, bicycle riding became more deeply engrained in Steve’s life as he replaced more and more car trips with bike commutes. By 1997, he abandoned his car all together. His bike became his personal transport vehicle and his pickup truck. “I have a BOB trailer that I’ve used to haul everything from garden plants to a chainsaw to crown moldings to an old sink,” says Steve.
Steve is a wealth of knowledge for new bike commuters. As he found when he was starting up, it’s important to take small steps to increase your stamina as you work up to making the full distance commute. He also encourages would-be commuters to not let a lack of work-place facilities prevent them from attempting to ride. “None of these are a deal-breaker,” says Steve who recalls when he use to “park in the back hallway and rinse off with a washcloth in an off-the-beaten-path restroom.” Steve’s last piece of commuter wisdom is so important that he repeated it twice, “Go for it! Go for it!”
For the last 28 years Steve has ridden over 4,000 miles annually. What started as a growing frustration with car time has blossomed into a love and appreciation for human-powered transportation. Steve is passing on the encouragement he received from Betty so many years ago by introducing a new generation to the joys of biking. A couple of summers ago, Steve and his granddaughter Mackenzie rode their bikes to every playground they could find in the Boise area: 92 playgrounds in 84 days!